The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless

It has been a long time since my last post and a lot has happened since then, but quite frankly I haven’t had the heart to share this until now. Usually I’m sharing beautiful pictures of the amazing places we have been. It’s really hard to share a post like this instead. I’ll warn you — the pictures aren’t pretty.

Our living and traveling in our beloved home on wheels came to an abrupt halt last month on a lonely stretch of highway in rural Maine. We had just finished visiting Acadia National Park which I haven’t had a chance to blog about yet. I will eventually, but first…this:

We noticed another stress crack in the sidewall of the RV. If you remember we had one of these repaired back in 2016. I sent the pictures to our contact at Heartland to ask for help since he helped us find a place to have the first crack repaired a couple of years ago.


My Heartland contact never answered me so we talked to some repair centers near us in Maine and although none of them could fix it for us, they said we should be fine to wait until we could find a repair center in Canada where we were headed next.

We left Acadia and headed towards Canada where we had planned to spend a few weeks exploring and visiting family up there. My parents were flying up to meet us in Nova Scotia.

The roads in Maine were pretty rough and bumpy and after several miles of that we stopped at a rest area. Someone pulled in after us and said that he had been behind us for several miles and he thinks something is wrong with our trailer. He said our trailer shifted to the side and the wheels didn’t look quite right. Chris looked around and noticed the wheels protruding out too far on the driver’s side and the frame looked bent.

Wheels Protruding 2

Frame shifted to side and wheels protruding.

Wheels Protruding 3

Frame shifted to side and wheels protruding.


Bent frame.

We also noticed the crack in the sidewall had gotten worse and we had 3 new cracks on the opposite side!

Crack-Rear Passenger 2

Passenger side crack.

Crack-Rear Passenger 1

Passenger side crack.

Chris broke the bad news to me that we weren’t going to make it to Canada and we just needed to find the nearest campground so we could figure out what to do. We called Good Sam Roadside Assistance, but they were not able to send someone to help us. They actually told me that if we can’t tow it neither can they. Well, we couldn’t very well live at the rest area so we had no choice but to move on. So I searched on my phone and found the nearest campground in Calais, ME called Keene’s Lake Family Campground. It was about 30 miles away so we put on the hazard lights and drove slow. By the time we got to the campground the initial crack had gotten so much worse that the roof was starting to separate.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Passenger side crack with roof separating.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Passenger side crack gets worse each time we move it.

Crack-Rear Passenger 7

Crack-Rear Passenger 8

I know the passenger side crack is pretty bad which is why I share the most pictures of that one, but I don’t want to ignore the other 3 cracks on the opposite side of the RV.

Crack Rear Drivers Side 1

Driver’s side crack #1.

Crack Rear Drivers Side 2

Driver’s side crack #1.

Crack Rear Drivers Side Inside 2

Driver’s side crack #1 interior.

Crack Drivers side between living room and bunkhouse slide 1

Driver’s side crack #2.

Crack Master Bedroom slide 3

Driver’s side crack #3.

The campground owners were very accommodating and kind to us while we were there, letting us stay as long as we needed while we sorted things out. Once we were set up in a campsite and opened the slides we noticed further damage on the inside: the crack goes all the way through to the kid’s bedroom, paneling fell off the ceiling, a wall separating in the kid’s room as well as the floor separating in their bathroom.

Crack-Rear Passenger Inside 3

Passenger side crack interior.

Bathroom Floor Separating Inside 4

Bathroom floor and kid’s bedroom floor separating.

Bathroom Floor Separating Inside 3

Bathroom floor and kid’s bedroom floor separating.

Bathroom Floor Separating 1

Bathroom floor separating exterior.

Bathroom Floor Separating 4

Bathroom floor separating exterior.

Wall Separating 3

Kid’s bedroom wall separating.

Wall Separating 4

Kid’s bedroom wall separating (close-up).

Chris called our insurance provider to file a claim. They sent someone out a few days later to take pictures and inspect the unit. Unfortunately they did not cover the damage because they said the damage is due to “frame failure” which is a manufacturing defect. I guess rough and bumpy roads should not cause an RV to literally fall apart without there being a weakness somewhere in the build of the unit.

I started conversations with the manufacturer Heartland to see if they would help. Heartland only offers a 1 year warranty and our unit is 3.5 years old. Still, I had hoped that since there was such extensive damage to a relatively young RV that Heartland may step up and do the right thing. I had wrongly hoped they would agree that an RV they built should not fall apart after just 3.5 years.

My initial conversations with an employee at Heartland ended with this email:


He said this has nothing to do with manufacturing but he thinks something was “drug down the top of the sidewall”. Well, if that was the case then our insurance provider might have covered it. Then there would have been an actual incident that caused this. However, this explanation makes no sense because it does not take into consideration all the cracks on the opposite side of the RV and the interior walls and floors separating. So we did not just go away with this explanation as I’m sure they hoped we would. After pushing them further, 2 employees at Heartland said they would send someone to inspect the unit.


Email asking me for the unit location so a frame vendor can come to inspect it.


Email from our selling dealer letting me know someone is coming to inspect it.

Well it turns out they lied about sending someone to inspect it because about a week later I spoke with Anthony Roberts (from 2nd email) on the phone and he told me he does not believe anything is wrong with the frame and he will not be sending anyone to inspect it.

Chris decided to contact him after that to which he replied that they would inspect the unit if we bring it to them in Indiana. Seriously?


Email telling us to bring it to Indiana if we want it inspected.

We had previously told them the unit is unsafe to tow. We had to move the RV from a campsite to a storage area within the same campground and in doing so some of the cracks got worse and the hole in the side opened up even larger. Also one of the slides doesn’t even go in correctly anymore. Do they really want us driving this down the road??

Drivers Side Bunkhouse Slide 1

Slide goes in at an angle.

Drivers Side Bunkhouse Slide 4

Slide goes in at an angle.

Does Heartland really think it is reasonable to ask us to tow this all the way from Maine to Indiana? Do they really want that liability on their hands if we were to have a serious accident on the way?

Anyway, after informing Heartland that I would be publishing this story on social media, they finally decided to send someone to inspect it. But guess what? The inspector was a paid employee of Heartland and so I’m sure you can guess how that turned out.


Notice that this inspection is for the “Benefit of Heartland”

Here is a picture from the inspection report basically claiming that we hit a tree.


This totally disregards the fact that the crack was there in June long before our incident in July on the road when the unit just basically started falling apart. We did not hit a tree or anything other than maybe pot holes in the road. This sidewall crack was already there before we moved from Acadia. On that drive the crack got so much worse and the roof began to separate. The inspection report also totally disregarded the 3 cracks on the opposite side of the RV. He didn’t even mention those! Obviously that’s what happens when a manufacturer sends their own guy out to inspect a unit. Whatever it takes to swing it in their favor!

I used to give positive feedback about Heartland because we experienced great customer service through them in our first year. You may remember I blogged a couple of years ago about a previous crack we had in the sidewall and how Heartland took care of us and helped us find a place to have it repaired: RV Repairs in Louisiana. Back then I was so impressed with how Heartland took care of us when our selling dealer (Dick Gore’s RV World)  in Jacksonville did not.

I didn’t realize when I used to praise them for their great customer service that it only lasted while we were under the 1 year limited warranty. I guess they don’t care about keeping customers for life. We had been looking into upgrading our RV to a toy hauler at some point, and had considered another Heartland. Not anymore — now we will never buy another Heartland because we know from experience that they do not stand behind their product. We will also discourage anyone we know from purchasing a Heartland.

I realize that not every Heartland will fall apart the way ours has, but wouldn’t you like to know when you buy an RV that the manufacturer stands behind their product when something this extraordinary happens? Even though we are well past the 1 year warranty, if they were a company that cared at all about maintaining customers for life they would have done something to make this right. The frame should really have a longer warranty than 1 year anyway — I mean who buys an RV and doesn’t expect it to last longer than 3-4 years?

Unfortunately many RV manufacturers have a reputation of making poor quality units, but I have been researching and asking other RV friends for feedback to find out if there is any manufacturer who truly stands behind their product. I have been consistently hearing great things about Grand Design. All of my RV friends that have a Grand Design rave about their excellent customer service. Perhaps our next RV will be a Grand Design and if so, hopefully we will experience much better customer service with them than we did with Heartland.

So, that’s the story of our life for the past month or so. The good news is we were able to make it to Canada. We moved all of our stuff out of the RV and into a storage unit and then stored the RV at the campground.


Our last night we spent in the RV. Still smiling and looking forward to seeing the grandparents in Canada.


Fat Cat hid in a moving box to make sure we didn’t forget her. 🙂

We met up with my parents in Nova Scotia and visited several places with them while staying in VRBO rentals and with friends and relatives. It wasn’t quite the same as having our home on wheels, but we made the best of it.

After a vacation in Canada with my parents we headed back to Maine, loaded everything we own into a Uhaul trailer and headed south to regroup and start over.


We came to Maine with our home on wheels and left with a Uhaul trailer. 😦

I will write later about our travels in Canada and also about our time in Acadia before this disaster happened.

I will end this with a reminder, please think twice before purchasing a Heartland RV. Remember, when we had trouble, they left us homeless and refuse to accept any responsibility.

UPDATE: an update to this post can be viewed here: Heartless Heartland RVs.

Categories: Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 166 Comments

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166 thoughts on “The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless

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  1. Marsha Bonner

    Let me second the warning on dealing with Camping World. Both my brother-in-law and another friend purchased used RV’s from them. The friend encountered lengthy service delays – just to swap out a jackknife sofa for a regular sofa. A month or more! My brother-in-law’s coach blew the engine within the first six months. Camping World treated him rudely, and the repair ran $30k. I’ll never, ever deal with them.


  2. Sorry for your troubles. This news discourages us from considering any RV. What a nightmare.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry I discouraged you from ever buying an RV. They’re really not all bad. Just be sure you buy from a manufacturer who stands behind their product, and buying from a dealer that supports you after the sale would be good too. Unfortunately we did neither of those. Lessons learned!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kimberly Dueitt

    We have a heartland big horn, frame broke unusable and untowable. Heartland wants us to bring it to indiana. Filed a complaint with NHTSA everyone with frame issues needs to file a formal complaint to make the highways safer


  4. Wow! I hope everything gets worked out soon for you and your family. My husband and I have a Grand Design Solitude and have been happy with it. I have never seen an RV do what yours did, and I can’t understand why Heartland is being so heartless. HIt a tree?? I hope a class action lawsuit is in their future.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Heartless Heartland RVs | 4 Radical Roadschoolers and a Fat Cat

  6. Kristi

    My parents retired, sold their home, bought a Big Horn 5th wheel to live in and travel around the country. They bought their RV from Open Road in Monroe, WA in July 2017. Who has a horrible service team! Do not buy an RV from these people! Their rig has been in the shop 3 times for issues like yours. The floor of their living room slide out is collapsing. They have had this thing 1 year and 4 months and have not travelled anywhere! This rig and Open Roads lack of give a shit, have caused nothing but stress for them. It’s just sad!


    • Ken and Dawn Metsala

      We are Big Horn Survivors from hell. They sell you the dream. You live the nightmare.


      • Katherine Pell

        Hi! We also own a bighorn and it has been nothing but major issues from the day we got it. I’m curious as to what went wrong with your bighorn? I’m trying to compile as much information as possible because I know we have an uphill battle with this unit and appreciate hearing about others experiences. Thank you in advance!


    • Katherine Pell

      Hi. I know this is an old thread but I cam across your comment about the floor of the slide in the big horn collapsing. We also have a 2018 Big Horn and our slide is also collapsing. Did the floor eventually completely fall or do you have an update? We are so worried that the floor will fall out while using that we don’t use it at all..


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  11. Kent Inman

    We have a Heartland Landmark 365. It’s a 2015. We had a similar situation last fall when the welds broke on the living room slide. It cracked the skin on the outside as well as the inside. We bought it in 2017, so it was out of the factory’s warranty. We purchased an extended warranty from the dealer. RV America warranty was the company, and at first they weren’t going to fix it because they said it had been hit. After we explained to them that it wasn’t hit, because there was no evidence of that, they then said that was jounced. Really? After numerous calls, and no resolution, we called the Insurance Commissioner’s office from our state. They sent a letter to them and within a month it was paid. The bill was over 10 grand. I’ll never own another Heartland again. Also the warranty company is terrible. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.


    • Thank you for your comments. Yes, your situation sounds very similar to ours. We also had an extended warranty but they don’t cover frame issues, our insurance company doesn’t cover frame failure and Heartland does not stand behind their product. So we were basically out of luck and it was a total loss for us. It’s very disappointing, and we also will never own another Heartland. I also wouldn’t recommend them to anyone either, and I warn people about them every chance I get.


  12. robynhengland

    Just heard about your story…WOW! I can’t believe their claims and lack of accountability. Well, I actually can because all the manufacturers seem to really stink. We’re dealing with Keystone about a major slide problem. I just really hate this for you and your family. I have heard really good things about Grand Design and I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed for safe and problem free traveling for yall here on out. Hang in there! Also, we were campground hosts at Curry Hammock for 4 months…it was wonderful and had many meals at Sunset Grille!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comments. So far we love our Grand Design. We notice in so many ways that it is built far better than the Heartland, and their customer service has been excellent, far and above Heartless Heartland. It’s unfortunate we had to suffer such a financial loss to learn what a bad manufacturer Heartland is. Curry Hammock was so beautiful! How awesome that you got to camp host there, what a great location. Thanks again and safe travels to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Sorry to hear about your nightmares.
    How much money did you end up losing?
    Was the RV a total loss?
    What did you end up doing with it?
    RVs have always appeared to be very flimsy to me.
    When working away from home, I live in a conversion van very comfortably; sometimes even with my Yorkshire TERROR pal Spencer.
    Please feel free to see my web page “Low Cost Luxury Living” at
    Take care,


  14. Donna

    We have had our for two years. Customer service is horrible and the quality of work is
    absolutely unbelievable. We’d never own another Heartland again.


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  16. Nancy

    This is why we purchased an Oliver Elite 2. Quality fiberglass trailer from a family-owned company. So sorry to hear of your terrible experience.


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